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Hay Show: Wyoming hay exhibited at the WSF

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Wyoming hay exhibited at the WSF

Each year, the Wyoming State Fair (WSF) Hay Show, presented by the Wyoming Hay and Forage Association (WHFA), invites top producers from around the state to exhibit their prized forages. The WSF Hay Show takes place inside the Wyoming Livestock Roundup tent each year. 

Any Wyoming hay producer is eligible to enter hay produced from the 2021 or 2022 crop. There are two divisions: 21 years of age and older as of Jan. 1, and a youth hay producer division for producers under 21 years of age. Only one entry per family operation per class may be entered. 

Hay judging

The hay is judged by a panel of forage industry professionals based on qualities including maturity, texture, leaf retention, bale quality, color, odor, foreign material, mold and forage analysis. This year’s judges included WHFA President and Northeast Director for Sheridan, Johnson, Natrona, Campbell, Crook and Weston counties Brian Wing and WHFA Executive Director, State of Wyoming Toby Skinner. 

There are three different classifications in the hay show – first, second and third cutting, Wing explained. In each of the cuttings, there is a 100 percent grass-hay division; mixed hay: up to 50 percent alfalfa first cutting and second/third cutting, and over 50 percent first cutting and second/third cutting; and straight alfalfa. 

“It’s an overall, hands-on vision or judgement of the hay,” shared Wing. “We also consider core samples – we use a combination of all qualities when judging the hay.” 

Show exhibitors and winners 

This year, the hay show brought a total of three exhibitors. In years past, upwards of 20 to 30 hay entries have been entered. 

Wing and Skinner noted numbers in this year’s hay show were very low. 

“It’s gradually declining and we’re trying to get some more youth involved,” said Wing. “A lot of our older producers have showcased their hay for so many years – we’re trying to get more youth involved.” 

The judges noted it was a colder, wet spring. Usually this time of year, many hay producers are starting on their third cutting, but many are just now finishing up their second cutting. 

Hay exhibited at the WSF were shown in the grass class, grass-hay class, mixed and straight alfalfa. All three cuttings were 2022 first cuttings. 

“Some producers retain hay from the previous year to showcase in the hay show but with hay prices the way they are, in many cases, producers have sold their retained hay to customers,” mentioned Wing.  

This year’s participants included Tyler Weber of Lander in the grass-hay class, Jace Lynch in the alfalfa class and Shane Emerson in the mixed grass class, both of Riverton. 

Lynch was awarded first place in the alfalfa class along with the Alan Grey Best of Show Award. Emerson received first place in the mixed grass class along with the Premier Exhibitor Award, and Weber received first place in the grass-hay class. 

National success 

The top exhibitors in the hay show will go on to compete at the World Forage Analysis Superbowl during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. Oct. 2-7. The state of Wyoming has won the competition six times within the last several years, with several other top five placings. 

Notable wins include when Hardrock Farms went home with the Champion Commercial Hay Award in 2021 and the Grand Champion Forage Producer in 2020. 

Wyoming’s climate is one advantage to growing hay in the state, mentioned Wing. 

“We live in a high-altitude desert – it’s kind of a catch-22,” he said. “If you don’t water it, it doesn’t grow but it also lends itself to putting up really good hay – we’re able to get it dried out where a lot of people can’t.”  

“It’s not that our hay is that much better or special, our hay climate allows us to harvest it in better conditions than other people in other states – we can have it cut and baled in just a few days,” he explained. 

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Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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